1) It seems like the magic system has finally been totally dominated by Life Magic. Every time option comes up, Life is the immediate answer. Its become a crutch for players that like the instant gratification play-style. Throne goes up, 6 dice go down for Dwellers, main combat unit removed. Playing with my wood elves, I've been experimenting with Beasts. Beasts is an incredibly rewarding set, even without the top spell. Its most basic spell can turn any losing battle into a fair match. Even the old lores are good. My recent acquisition of some Vampire Counts is going to see some Fire/Vampire/Death combos flying around the board.
2) The fun is still there, so long as the Internet sits out. The Internet is a fantastic resource for information, tactics, opinions, and character builds. My issue is when that becomes the sole resource for list building. Its a shame when you see two lizardmen players using the exact same build for their Slanns with the same gear on their Skink Priests. They just seem to be running through the numbers during play, following their guides to win without knowing what to do if the field changes. The games I've found the most rewarding are the ones where I've had to adapt a whole new strategy because my plans fell through.
3) Purpose leads to performance. There are some awesome units in the army books that almost never get played because they are difficult to use. My opinion on this is that they're being used incorrectly. These forgotten units and heroes can add a lot of variety to the army and create interesting situations. Seeing 4 units of 10 skinks doesn't look interesting, but throw in terradon riders and a razordon unit, spice of life people. Play the units you want to play, learn where they're strong, and they will perform. Warhawk riders: I'm looking at you.
I think a lot of the problems I've had with 8th edition stem from stagnation. The group I play with are not fans of adjustments or trying new tactics without reading them on the Internet first. I decided to take a slight break from Warhammer, not playing as many games, but picked up something new to revive my love for the hobby.
I picked up Warmachine a long time ago, but got a bad taste in my mouth after playing a game with someone who had a reputation as a power gamer. It was probably my fourth game ever, still learning the rules but my opponent agreed to play me. Needless to say, I lost. Badly. It wasn't just the loss, it was the attitude the guy had. As a new player to the group and the system, you always end up eating teeth to learn. Being a tool doesn't help new players at all. Disheartened, I put the models up on the shelf. So when I hit a slump with 8th, I looked more into some elements of Warmachine and re-read the rule book. Slowly but surely I'm figuring it out. Each game I get a little closer to the caster-kill.
By no means am I quitting on GW games. Just taking a slight break from them to stay fresh. If you've been having some hard times with 8th, it always helps to take a breather. Focused in on some painting projects, like my new Vargwulf. Maybe I'll post up some of the Warmachine stuff I've been painting. Until then, kick back a bit and watch the leaves turn colors.